18th February 2021 | IN EXPERT INSIGHT | BY SBID ShareTweetPinterestLinkedIn SBID Founder & CEO Dr. Vanessa Brady OBE had the pleasure of interviewing Mario Melino as he prepared his staple Focaccia-style pizzas. Charlie Smallbone and the team at Ledbury Studio were generous enough to open their showroom for this demonstration, while Mario spoke with Vanessa about how De Mario came to be. Marco describes Da Mario’s history, and how his father, one of the original partners of Pizza Express, brought his passion for Pizza and Neapolitan food to London. “I grew up in the family business,” Marco explains, “which my father started before I was born, in 1965. He was one of the founding partners in a small restaurant at the time, called Pizza Express.” The venture was the first of its kind to be established in Britain. “He brought the idea from Italy because, prior to that, there were no pizzerias in the UK.” After opening 7 Pizza Express restaurants with then-partner Peter Boizot the two parted ways, which led to the opening of Da Mario. “He [Peter] continued to expand the concept, with my father’s blessing obviously, and my father kept the Pizza Express in Gloucester Road, which is now Da Mario Kensignton.” Marco discusses the background of Da Mario, including the restaurant’s most memorable, regal, guests… “Our most famous client was Princess Diana,” Marco shares, “she used to come in – and it’s very well known – that the boys’ favourite food was pizza, so they used to sneak in and enjoy our pizzas.” We hope you enjoyed this interview with Marco. To browse more digital discussions as well as interviews, podcasts, webinars and workshops, visit the SpeaEasy library.